The steel market continues to struggle with lower pricing. Prices in some products have risen slightly and appear to have firmed up, yet other products lost ground. As previously mentioned, the metals market will continue to be impacted by imports and global overproduction.
Aluminum – The January price increase was very small as the long-term trend of price declines continues. With production being lost in the west and overproduction occurring in the developing markets such as China, there is a fair amount of bearishness. Skepticism appears to prevail as the general mood, as far as a 2014 aluminum forecast is concerned.
Cold Rolled –Prices did firm up at the beginning of the month but then fell back over recent weeks. The domestic mills are asking for more but have not been getting it, so further softening is anticipated for next month.
Hot Rolled – Hot rolled coil prices fell back this past month as scrap prices came down. Following an increase in Plate prices mid-month, US Plate prices held steady this week. Offshore offers have been steadily increasing, following the domestic mill price increase, but sources say that the market has absorbed all of those increases and expects pricing to remain firm. Some of the recently announced price increases on Rebar have been rescinded by the domestic mills. So far, steady demand for Rebar has supported moderate price increases, but as the warmer months come it is questionable if further price increases could be absorbed. The mills are holding any previous pricing at present, although there has been some small price concessions being made.
Stainless – An upward trend of Nickel prices in December created predictions of price increases across the Stainless Steel market. However, with the decreases in the market since December, most mills have reduced any alloy surcharges through January. The trend of Stainless pricing and the producing mills strategy, will gain clarity in the coming weeks, and perhaps more in line with the actual market demands.
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